1. of or pertaining to the stars; consisting of stars.
2. like a star, as in brilliance, shape, etc.
3. pertaining to a preeminent performer, athlete, etc.
“It’s hard to break bad habits, but it’s just as hard to break good ones,” stated Ralph Strangis the play-by-play announcer for the Dallas Stars hockey team. We, the aspiring journalists of tomorrow, were gathered at the 2010 Stars Media mock press conference to gain experience and knowledge. We absorbed his seemingly obvious statement, feverishly jotting it down. But as I look back, his statement was more important than it seemed. That day in the warm media room, my fellow journalists and I began paving the way for our future careers. We were developing the foundations of good habits that would follow us our entire lives. At the time, thoughts of our future were out of our minds as the cold dry air of the Stars practice arena danced over our rosy cheeks. Cheerful staff greeted us and passed out small gifts wrapped in shimmering green and gold plastic. Then we were shuffled to the practice rink where the action was just getting started on the ice. The Stars were displaying their captivating strength and grace right before our eyes, inches away from the breath-fogged glass that acted as the only shield keeping us from the bullet speed of practice pucks.
After processing all of this overwhelming action, the three female journalists from Community High School (the only journalists from Community High School) turned our attention to the sparkling, crinkly gifts from the team. As the stars surged to-and-fro on the other side of the glass we daintily opened the tightly wrapped packages. As I labored diligently against the tightly knotted string, a burst of pure joy squawked from one of my fellow journalists.
“Eeeek! I got Turco! I got Turco!”
Our heads snapped around to see the reason for such glee. In her hands she cupped a shiny new puck with a barely legible “M. Turco” scrawled in bright silver sharpie. I tugged even harder at the frustrating wrap until a satisfying “SNAP!” declared my success. I ripped the remains off my puck and smothered a squeal of my own as I discovered mine had been signed by Steve Ott! Another of our young journalists was more than happy to receive a signature from Mike Ribeiro. Our hearts were full to bursting as we chattered amongst ourselves, giggling as we made eye contact with the players and sighing over their chiseled bodies bubble-wrapped in various pads and armor. Forget Twilight. This was absolute heaven!
We were lost in overwhelming emotion when Marty Turco winked at us. Then a whistle pierced the air of the rink. The players uniformly turned on a dime and made two lines on the opposite sides of the ice. With lightening speed and agility they began rocketing killer passes toward one another all the way down to the poised Turco who waited like a tiger to foil their shots. As the practice progressed, Assistant Coach Stu Barnes worked with the centers on face-offs and Brian Sutherby rifled pucks at the small targets of our eager faces.
Unfortunately, this practice was wrapping up. As the players took a cool-down lap we reluctantly filed out of the rink. We were escorted out into the freezing drizzle and across the street to the Frisco Conference Center. A warm gush of air greeted us and smoothed down the aggressive goose bumps that riddled our arms and legs. A high, warmly-lit ceiling stretched overhead and large abstract paintings held our gaze until we approached the media room. “This is where the magic happens,” I thought. Wordsmiths of the highest standard sat in this very room, creating captivating news lines and hooks and describing the powerful sport in new intriguing ways. What I would give to be one of them someday?
My hopeful abandon soon evaporated as Ralph Strangis and John Rhadigan introduced themselves and kept us comfortable and…